Saturday, September 29, 2007


Vilcabamba is a barely noticable collection of crumbling houses and ostentatious Quiteño mansions in the 'Valley of Longevity'. The main tourist attraction is old people (apparently it's quite common to live past the century mark here). But as you'd expect, the elderly don't really make for a great day of sightseeing, and they all seem to be hidden away anyway (I saw one, maybe two, people who were definitely 'really old', but once someone's over 85, can you really tell? Does it matter with that many years notched?) It's ok that what they see as their main reason for visiting their town is pretty lame, because Vilcabamba'a other main attraction is doing nothing, and the town is perfectly set up for this.

Hotel Dog and the Vilcabamba Valley

We spent a lazy week not clambering any of the hiking trails, not visiting some boring tourist trap and most importantly (after three solid days on bone-jarring buses), not traveling. About the most strenuous activity of our time there was playing an annoying game of cat and mouse with an itinerant Israeli numerologist, who had tricked me into letting him do a reading, which, I assume, he would then expect payment for. Had I realised that the bank had recently disgorged a fake $20 note into my wallet I would have given him that and avoided the need to, literally, hide in darkened bushes like a condemned guinea pig (they eat them up here).


Hot and cold

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